How Can Digital Technology Help Businesses Adapt to the New Normal?

Published Date: 20 March 2020 | 5 min read

COVID-19 and digital technologies

The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the way we work and live. Due to the rapid spread of the virus, companies worldwide are asking their employees to work from home. Also, more and more consumers are shifting their shopping habits online. Naturally, digital technology is now crucial to business survival.

 

Why is digital technology so important for businesses in the COVID-19 context?

COVID-19 has given birth to a decentralized workforce. Employees everywhere are working remotely. Therefore, businesses need to come up with new solutions to enable remote collaboration and communication between teams.

The adoption of digital technologies is the only way to keep your business up and running while ensuring efficiency and employee productivity.

 

What are some of the major challenges for businesses?

The current crisis has generated numerous challenges for businesses across the globe.

Holding the annual general meeting has become increasingly difficult in this time. Considering the importance of this meeting and the fact that its date was set months ago, businesses need to find a suitable solution.

Of course, with physical meetings being out of the question, the only option left are online meetings. In the past year, many general meetings took place via electronic channels.

 

How can companies ensure that virtual meetings go smoothly?

First and foremost, companies need to choose the right video conferencing app. It is very important to opt for a reliable tool that provides additional collaboration features such as live chat and screen sharing. Prior to the meeting, all board members should be provided with a copy of the annual accounts and annual reports. These documents should also be shared in the video conferencing platform. Additionally, the auditor can record the video call to feel as in control as during a physical meeting.

Nevertheless, a big challenge arises as soon as the virtual meeting is over: the signing of documents. All the attendees in the general meeting need to sign the original draft of the documents including meeting minutes and annual reports. Once the board has processed the annual accounts and the annual report, the CEO also needs to sign them.

Printers and scanners are needed to complete the signature process. Nevertheless, owning one of these machines is not nearly as common as it used to be. On top of that, the limited mobility of the postal services in the current situation doesn’t make things any easier.

 

How can businesses use digital technology to address this challenge?

Forget about the stress and the delays associated with paper-based processes. Digital technology can help companies easily and securely finalize their annual reports.

Penneo’s digital signature software allows the creation of a signing flow based on your custom needs. You decide the number of signatories, and the order in which they need to sign. The documents will then be automatically sent to all the signatories in the right order. As soon as they receive the document, signatories can securely sign via their national eID (NemID, BankID, itsme®).

Did anyone forget to sign? Penneo allows you to schedule and send out automatic reminders to all the people who have not yet signed. The best part? There’s no need for printing, scanning, or mailing - documents can be easily signed from any electronic device at any time. Once all the signatures are collected, the signed annual report lands in your inbox and personal Penneo archive.

There’s an extra benefit too. Penneo’s software allows meeting participants to be quickly legitimized without printing or scanning their IDs. Our digital KYC solution verifies the participant’s identity through eID authentication on an electronic device. This ensures compliance with AML regulations.

Here are some industry-specific examples:

 

The service industry

The service industry has been seriously affected by the COVID-19 situation. Restaurants are limited to take-out and delivery services. Hence, restaurant owners have to adapt in order to stay afloat.

Simon, the owner of Restaurant Omar, uses the services of an accountant. With physical meetings being out of the question, Simon started using Penneo.

With Penneo, Simon and his accountant can handle all financial documents online. This saved Simon a great deal of time which he can now use on providing better customer service.

 

The leasing sector

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided the leasing sector with a new opportunity. Due to travel restrictions, more and more people are spending their vacations close to home.

Under the circumstances, driving is much safer than flying. Therefore, a lot of people choose to rent a car and drive themselves to their destination. On top of that, they also get to really explore their own country.

With Penneo, leasing companies can collect the driver’s license and other information via an online form. Furthermore, the contract can be sent and signed digitally in a matter of minutes.

Our solution helps leasing companies reduce physical interactions which prevents the spread of the infection. On top of that, it provides a simpler and more convenient customer experience.

Penneo for leasing companies

 

The real estate sector

Realtors and property managers need to carefully plan customer meetings or move them online altogether.

It’s rather risky to organize a face-to-face meeting just to get a document signed. Therefore, companies need to implement digital signature solutions for rental agreements, purchase contracts, and other documents.

 

What are the benefits of digital technology in the COVID-19 age?

Some of the most important benefits associated with digital technology are:

 

Adaptability and flexibility

The pandemic has taught businesses about the importance of being flexible and quickly adapting to change.

In the midst of this major crisis, digital technology helps businesses continue their day-to-day operations conveniently and without too much disruption.

 

Communication and collaboration

The coronavirus situation has also impacted the way we communicate and collaborate. Businesses are constantly coming up with new ways to support remote cooperation and communication between employees with the help of digital technology.

For example, Penneo’s solution provides a virtual collaboration space where team members can work together on case files, check the status of the document, and leave each other notes. With Penneo, you can easily assign team members to work on document workflows.

 

Easy access to documents

Businesses nowadays manage large amounts of documents which need to be properly stored in an organized and secure manner. Digital document management platforms help you declutter your office and make document retrieval significantly easier.

Our software allows you to keep all your documents in one place. No more searching for important documents through huge piles of paper. With Penneo, you can easily find, access, and review all your documents.

 

Data security

One of the most important benefits of digital technology is data and document security. Penneo’s software uses end-to-end encryption to ensure the security and integrity of signed documents. Furthermore, documents can only be accessed and signed by the intended recipients via eID authentication.

Last but not least, Penneo allows you to set up automatic data deletion to ensure GDPR-compliance.

 

Working from home? Make it business as usual

Employees all around the world are currently working remotely from the comfort of their own homes. Thanks to the exponential development of digital technology, working remotely is both easy and convenient. Nevertheless, there are also companies out there who have not yet managed to adapt.

Turns out that working remotely requires more than just an internet connection. To create a good working environment and motivate employees, you need to provide them with the right tools:

Define the work schedules with a start time and an end time

Help them structure their calendar and form a productive morning routine

Implement a robust task management system coupled with regular check-ins and small milestones to track the progress of tasks and projects

Introduce digital tools (Skype, Slack, Google Hangouts, etc.) that enable remote communication and collaboration

 

Penneo’s cloud-based solution to the rescue

With Penneo’s cloud-based solution, you can easily and securely sign and store employment contracts, lease agreements, engagement letters, annual reports, and other important documents.

Penneo helps you eliminate paper and printing costs as well as costs associated with the physical storage of documents. On top of that, automation allows you to save time and work more efficiently.

Our software works wonders for remote teams. With Penneo, you will:

Collect signatures faster and decrease document turnaround time

Cut costs associated with manual and paper-based processes

Create a better experience for customers, employees, and stakeholders

Improve collaboration between team members

Ensure the highest level of security and compliance